Criminal Dismissed

United Press International
June 9, 1987

Criminal charges have been dismissed a Franciscan priest accused of sexually molesting three male students at St. Catherine's Indian School.

District Court Judge Bruce Kaufman ruled Monday a prosecutor inappropriately led grand jury proceedings which resulted in the indictment of the Rev. Dennis Fountain.

Santa Fe County District Attorney Chet Walter said he is considering options he may take.

Fountain, 49, former dean of students at the Indian school, said he was elated with Kaufman's ruling.

on March 5 charged Fountain with 167 counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor. The indictment alleged the priest fondled one teen-age boy on 164 separate occasions.

Kaufman ruled Assistant District Attorney Steve Henry failed to act in an impartial manner when he suggested to grand jurors how many charges could be filed against Fountain.

Walter said he may appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals, give the case to a new grand jury or ask for a preliminary hearing to determine if enough evidence exists to take Fountain to trial.


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